October always brings the “people in black” to the Hamptons, as movie-folk come to celebrate the annual Hamptons International Film Festival. Like those movie studios who unspool their important reels in the last few months of the year, publishers release many major new books from bestselling authors.
This month brings new works from Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Dennis Lehane, Pat Barker, Jo Nesbø, Barbara Kingsolver, Sandra Cisneros, Dennis Lehane, Pat Barker, and Donna Leon, to name just a few.
One of the most highly-anticipated novels is J. K. Rowling’s first foray into fiction for grown-ups, The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown). Rowling brings her wonderful creative strengths to the wise and touching tale of Pagford, an ostensibly idyllic, quiet little town in England. When Barry Fairbrother dies prematurely, the whole town is stunned. But Barry has left vacant a seat on the parish council, setting in motion an election battle that will lay bare the seamier side of Pagford, as dark sides are revealed, passions loosed, locals betrayed and betraying. Pagford, it seems, is a not-so-idle idyll.
Rowling has again plotted perfectly, spinning a tale that will satisfy readers who have been craving another great story from one of our best storytellers. Make no mistake: this is not Harry Potter. Comparisons are foolish, and will lead down a road that should not be travelled. The Casual Vacancy is dark, yes, but decidedly adult.